PORTLAND, MAINE – Today, Running Tide announces a new agreement with Microsoft that makes it the technology company’s first open ocean-based carbon removal supplier. Running Tide will remove the equivalent of 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide (C02e) over the next two years on behalf of Microsoft. It uses breakthrough technology that accelerates the ocean’s ability to naturally remove carbon dioxide, sinking it to the deep ocean in a safe and permanent form. This agreement also includes innovations to ensure effective measurement, reporting, and verification.
Carbon removal is a new, fast-growing, and urgently needed industry that moves carbon from the fast carbon cycle (the atmosphere, biosphere, and upper ocean) to the slow carbon cycle (the deep ocean, geological reservoirs, and inorganic material like rocks). Unlike carbon offsets, which fix carbon in the fast carbon cycle, carbon removal involves both fixing carbon in the fast cycle and moving it to the slow cycle where it’s stored for hundreds of years.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly cited carbon removal as a necessary component of the climate solution, which calls for the removal of up to ten gigatons of carbon per annum to ensure that humanity stays below the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius warming mark. The National Academy of Sciences has cited ocean-based carbon removal as one of the most promising pathways for carbon removal.
For Microsoft, this carbon removal purchase supports its commitment of being carbon negative by 2030, while aiding the company's work to help scale the carbon removal market. As the ocean-based CDR market is nascent, and lacking third-party certifications, Microsoft has utilized its expertise as a leading buyer of carbon removal to build into the agreement stage gates that enable quality assurance. For example, larger purchases of carbon removal are unlocked by improvements in the quality of the MRV system, which will help establish biomass-sinking as a viable and scalable carbon removal pathway.
"Supporting innovative solutions is part of Microsoft's carbon removal strategy," said Phillip Goodman, director, Carbon Removal Portfolio, Microsoft. "Running Tide's dedication towards continued improvements in ocean-based MRV systems aligns with Microsoft's pursuit of innovative CDR projects, and we look forward to Running Tide's further development of the ocean-based carbon removal space."
Through natural processes like photosynthesis (by terrestrial and marine biomass) and ocean alkalinity enhancement, Running Tide fixes carbon from the fast carbon cycle, and then utilizing low energy mass transfer techniques (ships, gravity, and ocean currents), to sink the carbon in the deep ocean, moving it into safe, long-term storage in the slow carbon cycle. Running Tide also designs, builds, and implements an end-to-end suite of ocean diagnostic and sensor capabilities to measure and monitor environmental impacts. Running Tide’s operations and carbon-negative industrial hubs offer cascading benefits for coastal communities and ecosystems, supply chains, and global ocean health.
“This agreement represents a joint investment in an abundant future: both in removing a significant amount of carbon while restoring ocean health for future generations,” said Running Tide CEO Marty Odlin. Our deal develops the system and technologies needed to responsibly steward our natural resources and to further our knowledge of and connectivity to the ocean.”